Monday, 1 August 2016

Post 217 Rootpruning time - Japanese Box

The photos in this post were taken on the 31st of July. The weather has been so balmy and there is definitely a hint of spring in the air. New shoots are everywhere in the garden where the ground doesn't see the overnight temperatures so much. The time for root pruning has been coming back by about a week a year. Not long ago the start date was the 31st of August, then the 15th and now this year here I am making a start in July.
I usually start with my deciduous trees but I wanted to get this Japanese Box done so here it is.

 Straight out of the pot the root mass is as expected and there is evidence of fresh growth, a good sign for timing. The root mass holding its shape like this is a good indicator of healthy root conditions and growth over the last year. It is interesting to note too that the mass of roots around the lower part of the pot have been living almost hydroponically, demonstrating the value and necessity of regular fertilization.

Knowing this the tree's roots will be made up exclusively of fibrous roots I make a start with cuts around all the sides.

 This is followed up with a slice off the bottom. I'm using the blade of the machete as a knife here rather than chopping. For this tree the thickness of the root mass was reduced to about one third of the original depth.

 More trimming around the edges brings it back to a relatively small 'cake' of roots, to perhaps 10% to 15% of the original volume. There is nothing to be gained by raking these out or water washing as I do for the deciduous trees.

Cutting away directly under the trunk is helpful to ensure new roots come mostly from those around the periphery of the nebari, getting it set for the next growth season. Back in the pot and its ready to go again.

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